'My period as Barcelona manager is over' - Guardiola rules out possibility of returning to Camp Nou

Pep Guardiola Manchester City 2020-21
The Manchester City head coach addressed speculation over his future after watching his side beat Sheffield United in the Premier League on Saturday

Pep Guardiola has ruled out the possibility of returning to Camp Nou, insisting his "period as Barcelona manager is over".

Speculation over Guardiola's future at Manchester City is beginning to intensify as he approaches the last six months of his current contract.

The Spaniard has opened the door to extending his stay at Etihad Stadium, but says he must earn the right to remain in the hot seat by overseeing a successful 2020-21 campaign.

It has been suggested that Guardiola could make his way back to Catalonia if he leaves Manchester next summer, with Barca presidential candidate Victor Font eager to arrange a reunion between the 49-year-old and Lionel Messi.

"It is our intention to build a very strong and competitive project and we are very lucky at Barca that we inherited a style of play that Johan Cruyff instilled throughout the organisation, and most of the best professionals who know about this style are also fans and love the club - like Pep Guardiola, Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta, [Carlos] Puyol," Font told Sky Sports earlier this week.

"They are all legends that love Barcelona but do not work for Barca today - we need to bring them back to ensure we will have a very competitive project."

Guardiola began his coaching career at Camp Nou, winning 14 major trophies between 2008 and 2012, including three La Liga titles and two Champions League crowns.

He created arguably one of the greatest club sides in history during that period, getting the best out of the likes of Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique while implementing his 'tiki-taka' philosophy.

However, the City boss insists he has closed the book on his chapter at Barca once and for all, and that he will only return to the club as a fan.

"My period as Barcelona manager is over. I think once in a lifetime you have to do things," Guardiola said after watching the Blues beat Sheffield United 1-0 at Bramall Lane on Saturday afternoon.  

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"There are incredible people who can be in charge there, now for example Ronald Koeman. It's over, I will come back to my city to see my club, to watch the game, it's done."

City have moved up to seventh in the Premier League after their win over the Blades, with a Champions League group stage clash against Olympiacos up next for Guardiola's men on Tuesday.

Barca, meanwhile, will be looking to build on an impressive European victory away at Juventus when they take on Alaves this weekend.